The proposed fight between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk to become the first undisputed world heavyweight champion since 2000 appeared to be off Wednesday, with the boxers seemingly unable to agree to rematch terms.
Usyk’s promoter, Alex Krassyuk, told British broadcaster talkSPORT that his fighter broke off negotiations with Fury because his rival was “putting so many obstacles in front of making the deal.”
Frank Warren, Fury’s British promoter, responded by saying the big stumbling block centered around a dispute over the split of earnings from a rematch.
Warren said he hoped negotiations can resume but time was running out for a deal to be reached for what would be one of the biggest fights in a generation.
The last heavyweight to be the undisputed world champion was Lennox Lewis in 1999-2000.
Usyk, the WBA, WBO and IBF champion, went on social media last week to accept Fury’s terms for a proposed April 29 fight in London, notably a 70-30 split of earnings from the bout in favor of Fury, the WBC titleholder.
They were given a deadline of April 1 by the WBA to officially agree to a deal, otherwise Usyk would be ordered to undertake a mandatory title defense.
“There was a feeling that after Usyk accepted 70-30, Tyson Fury started to think he can put a saddle on his neck and start riding Usyk as much as he can. It is not right,” Krassyuk said.
“Usyk accepted the 70-30 split. He was so loyal and he was so willing to make this fight happen. But this fight is not about Tyson Fury. It is about the WBC belt and (Usyk) expanding his collection.”
Warren said the two parties reached an agreement on everything apart from the terms of the rematch clause, even as far as booking hotels and flights and which fighter walks to the ring first inside Wembley Stadium.
Fury didn’t initially want a rematch to be included in the deal but Warren said he convinced his fighter to change his mind.
“We’ve got to a situation about how is the rematch going to work, how is it going to be split, the money for the winner and the loser. That’s what we’ve been working on,” Warren said.
“I think,” he added, “if common sense prevails, we can get an outcome.”
Krassyuk has previously said Usyk could instead fight British boxer Daniel Dubois, who holds the WBA regular title and is a mandatory challenger for Usyk.
As for Fury, there could now be a renewed attempt to arrange an all-British fight with former two-time world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua. Talks over a fight between Fury and Joshua have twice broken down in the past, and Joshua — on the comeback trail after back-to-back losses to Usyk — said he is not prepared to put his own career on hold for it.
“I can’t say I will sit and wait around for this geezer,” Joshua said on a media call ahead of his April 1 fight with American boxer Jermaine Franklin. “There are other fighters out there and other great fights I will have.
“With or without Fury (on my record), I will not wake up tomorrow and be regretting my whole boxing career.”
Joshua said he is happy that the public is seeing how hard it is to negotiate with Fury.
“It is good that people can actually see (what) people have got to put up with just to make a fight,” Joshua said. “Me and Usyk had two successful fights done, you know, so it is just crazy.”
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